The goals and norms of American foreign policy can be traced over a number of centuries. Starting in 1776, foreign policy in the United States (US) has gone through a rollercoaster of competing strategies and schools of thought. Two competing strategies of Isolationism and Internationalism have taken their turns headlining the foreign policy principles of various American governments. Importantly, the reasons for the to and fro movement between these two extremes can not be linked to a single source but to a multitude of elements both internal and external shaping American thinking.
In the sections that follow, a historical path will be traced through American foreign policy starting in 1776 with a watershed period between 1900 and 1946, followed by the years 1946 to 1989, and the post - Cold War period. Importantly post 9/11 also needs to be discussed as a turning point not only in American foreign policy but global foreign policy. The main proponents of American foreign policy will be identified, along with the determinants at various periods of time that had an influence on American thinking. Finally an opinion of how US foreign policy has shaped the current world situation will be given.
2. The Introductory Years 1776 1900
America was colonised by people who felt the need to escape the European way of life and more particularly British rule. According to Kegley, Wittkopf and Scott (2003: 27) the need to develop a society free from persecution and embracing of civil and religious liberties laid the foundation of what would become the "nation's cherished political mythology", the fact that it was isolated from the rest of the world and an example to be followed. Between George Washington and John Adams, the first two presidents of the US, an impetus to remain uninvolved with European politics and alliances due to the fact that the search for power corrupted several European governments and the fear existed that this may spill... [continues]
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